Car Spotlight>>(retro?) Ls1-powered Miata

I was browsing one of my favorite forums, the other day when I found a thread about an LS1-powered Mazda Miata drag car out of Mississippi. Now any time you combine a light weight rear-drive car with a powerful V8 the potential for awesomeness arises, but I noticed something about this car that I don't think the builder intended – it's likeliness to sports car-based drag cars of the '60s.

I'm talking about quartermile-burning lightweights like this Cobra….

There's no denying the resemblance right? Imagine how cool this would look with some retro style mags and graphics!

And of course the LS1 gives the car the power to back up the looks. On the first time out, the car turned in an 11.8 ET at the drag strip. If i'm not mistaken, it's also street legal!

Another example of retro sports car drag goodness with this Bug-eyed Sprite.

And another. There's something beautiful about seeing a once "gentlemanly" roadster turned into a beast like this.

Mazda's concept for the Miata has always been jinba ittai, or "oneness between horse and rider". In this case though, it's more like "rider hanging on for dear life as bronco takes him on wild ride down the dragstrip".

I love it.

Photo thread on ClubRoadster

Vintage Photos from the Jalopy Journal Forums

-Mike Garrett



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In my opinion, I feel a 2JZ would have been cooler to see in that engine bay.


awesome post mike,this is why i want a mx-5(as they are called in the uk).Because ls1/2 + mx5= epic win. and i love it you american stuff 454's and 350's into our small sports cars.And that mx5 would look sick in flat black.


I featured in my blog too!

ar is sick!!


Yeah too bad a 2JZ is 100lbs heavier than an LSX.


Love it! Then again, I am a little hot rod biased. I'm sure the roadster purists hate it, but it is nearly as cool as that blue Austin-Healey above. Looking at how much clearance is in that engine bay, an LS must be able to fit in anything! Drag stance all the way!


Then use a RB26DET


Would rather see a VQ35 in there much lighter and shorter than a LS.


Hello, Mcfly? I6 or V6 you dewds are missing the freaking boat.


The first LSX build I like. Ususally not a fan of throwing a v8 at everything.

Still think a 13B would have been cooler tho, lol But I'm a bit of a purist, and a rotary fan.


They've been throwing 1UZ-FE's in MX5's over here (Aus) for years... Called a Bullet Roadster... google it.. They also put V8's in Lotus 7 replicas (similar to Caterham) called an Elfin... all good ways to overpower a chassis..

I'd go RB26 myself, but I drive a GTR so I'm biased...


An LS1 in a miata i did not know you can fit a V8 in a miata


An LS1 in a miata i did not know you can fit a V8 in a miata


the therm is frog eye sprite no me gusta :(


haha crazy build, i was thinking about the mazda KL-ZE engine thats comes with the mazda MX6 and the Ford Probe, if the ls fits so wil the KL-ZE :D


a F20C will be my bet, ohh, i drive a MX-5 and a big S2000 fan, and i might be biased


poor Miata :(

deserves a 13B or something :)


there was a time when i didnt like to see ls1 in random cars.... but i finally realized im american and thats just how its done here... v8s for everyone...


An LSx is actually a very competent engine. I consider myself a sports car biased guy, not import or domestic. The truth is an RB26 would be ridiculously expensive, also with a 2JZ, along with the weight. Good luck shoving a straight six in the engine bay (it has been done, but don't forget a v8 is shorter, 4 cylinders per bank). As far as this kind of performance for the price, you can't even get close. It is also a time tested and bulletproof reliable design. I drive a Miata, and there would be no other choice of engine for me. Add forced induction (Ballistic) to this engine and there is still no replacement for displacement. Carrol Shelby knew that.


It hurts to see a big Healey (purple and white car) turned into that.


Can't believe my car made it on here. Thanks guys! The main thing i wanted with this car is something fun to drive while being as reliable as possible. A stock LS1 in a Miata is exactly that. Projects like these are always evolving, and this one is far from done.


sunbeam tiger anyone?


OH NO!!!! it has rotas on the front of it. they wouldnt make a 12 second pass. wait wut?


They've been putting LSx motors in miatas for at least 4 years now. Quite a few running around, and you can buy kits for them... of course, this one is a particularly badass example, imho, and it certainly RUNS!!


i feel sick


Flyin miatas started this a while ago... 5.0 fords are an easy swap too



Nothing wrong with being a rotary guy in the V-8 swap comments


aweosme swap and nice to see someone keep it simple so they can really enjoy the car and not spend too much time in the buildup, just get it in and drive it yeah! nice feature, surprised there is still so much anti-LS1 sentiment around here even for a car thats so clean and simple. +1 for an awesome setup!


I am all for engine swaps on cars, but at least keep in line with the manufacturer's engine. Hell, at least the company who owns that manufacturer. That's just me though, I like to keep things clean and simple as possible... Something out of Ford's catalog maybe? But I must admit, any v8 in any tiny car is pretty sik..


Congrats to Matt on getting his car featured and congrats to Adam for sharing the photos.


I was just about to buy some performance mods for my 1.8 miata but now....haha I think I'll just shop around for an LS1. Too many ppl calling it a chick car with the 1.8 in it and I'm pretty sure a V-8 would shut that shit up! lol